Zero Waste grocery store opens in Montréal

Méga Vrac storefront
Screen capture Quebec Info Plus (via YouTube)

Finally, a true Zero Waste store has arrived in Canada! Méga Vrac features more than 700 products, making it a perfect place for waste-averse shoppers to stock their pantries.

The first officially Zero Waste grocery store has finally come to Canada! Méga Vrac (name translates as “Mega Bulk”) opened its doors to Montreal residents at the beginning of September, its shelves lined with more than 700 products, all gloriously unpackaged.

Oils and vinegar in stainless steel bulk dispensers, flour, legumes, dried fruits, honey, unwrapped bars of soap, detergents, spices, coffee, tea, nuts, and loose, fresh produce are all for sale. Customers are expected to bring their own containers, although they can purchase glass jars, bottles, and paper bags if needed, which makes the products accessible to anyone walking in off the street.

olives in bulk at Méga Vrac© Méga Vrac via Facebook -- Olives in bulk available for sale

Méga Vrac is a logical solution to the ongoing problem of plastic pollution, as it tackles waste right at its source. Homeowners and curbside recyclers won’t have to deal with excess packaging if it doesn’t come home in the first place – and what’s not to love about that? The owners of Méga Vrac, Ahlem and Anis Belkheir, believe that Montréalers are now willing to trade a small amount of convenience and put in some extra effort for the sake of the environment. Indeed, one customer told Radio-Canada why she loves it:

“I don’t have any waste after using products. I like the fact that this store is close to my home. I don’t have to use gas, there are no bags to throw out afterward, it’s perfect for me.”

The Belkheirs have partnered with local providers and manufacturers in order to minimize the amount of packaging needed for transportation, and many of those suppliers share their goal of environmental consciousness.

liquid dispensers for oils© Méga Vrac via Facebook - Liquid dispensers for oils

Currently, residents of Montréal generate, on average, 350 kilograms (772 lbs) of garbage per person each year, with an estimated 70 percent of that waste coming from food products; but the attitude toward waste is shifting as awareness of environmental consequences grows. The city council recently voted to ban plastic bags and other single-use plastics by 2018, as well as discourage the use of “microbeads, plastic bottles, plastic utensils, excess plastic wrap and Styrofoam.” Méga Vrac really couldn’t come at a better time.

Vancouver also has a Zero Waste Market in the works, which is very exciting. Unfortunately there’s no word on a similar venture happening in Toronto.

Visit Méga Vrac at 2649 rue Masson in Montréal. Website and Facebook page also available. See short video clip about the store (in French):

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